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Professor Ruth Padel

Padel_Ruth2017Professor of Poetry

Tel +44 (0)20 7848 7829


Address Department of English
King's College London
Room 6.37 Virginia Woolf Building
London WC2B 6LE

Office hours document available here



Ruth began as a classicist with an Oxford D.Phil. on the idea of the mind and self in Greek tragedy and medicine, published as In and Out of the Mind, and Whom Gods Destroy (Princeton University Press 1992 and 1995).

She taught Greek at Oxford and Birkbeck, but in 1984 gave up tenure to pursue a career as freelance writer. She published her first full collection of poetry in 1990, became Fellow of Royal Society of Literature in 1998 and worked freelance until 2013, when she joined King’s.

She has published ten poetry collections, a novel and eight books of non-fiction including much–loved books on how to read poetry, a travel-memoir on tiger conservation, and a study of the influence of Greek myth on rock music.

Awards include a British Council Darwin Now Award, a Society of Authors Travel Bursary and Cholmondley Award and First Prize in the National Poetry Competition.

Further information can be found on Ruth Padel's website.

Research interests and PhD supervision

Poetry, Fiction, Charles Darwin, Conservation, Connection between Arts and Science.

Selected publications
  • Tidings – A Christmas Journey (Chatto & Windus 2016)
  • Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth (Chatto & WIndus 2014
  • The Mara Crossing: Poems and Prose on Migration (Chatto & Windus 2012, Counterpoint Press 2013 as ‘On Migration’)
  • Darwin – A Life in Poems (Chatto & WIndus. Alfred J Knopf 2009)
  • Tigers in Red Weather (Little, Brown/ Abacus 2010)

Creative writing (poetry and drama)

Public engagement and expertise

Talks, broadcasting & poetry readings - e.g. for 2015 Annual T S Eliot Reading, Royal Society of Literature; and in international and national literary festivals including Jaipur Literature Festival, Times of India Festival Mumbai, Edinburgh Festival, Ledbury Poetry Festival.

Talks on poetry and music for BBC Radio 3 and 4.

Chair of Judges for T S Eliot Prize 2016 and Forward Prize 2010; Judge for 2010 Costa Poetry Prize and 2015 International Man Booker Prize. 2015 T S Eliot Reading for Royal Society of Literature.





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